Sexual Abuse

Life Recovered


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Sexual abuse describes any unwanted sexual activity, often involving perpetrators who use force, make threats, or otherwise take advantage of a victim who is unable to give consent. Immediate reactions include fear, anger, and disbelief, but sexual abuse can have longstanding problems that can interfere with a survivor’s day-to-say living, preventing them from truly enjoying their lives.

According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted every 109 seconds. Every 8 minutes, that victim is a child. One out of every six women has been a victim of an attempted or completed rape. One out of every ten men is a rape victim.

Types of Sexual Abuse

Sexual violence is a broad term referring to crimes of rape, assault, and sexual abuse. Some different types of sexual violence include:

  • Incest – Any form of sexual contact between family members
  • Child sexual abuse – A form of child abuse that includes sexual activity (children can never consent to any form of sexual activity)
  • Sexual harassment – Unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors, and general verbal or physical harassment

  • Intimate partner sexual violence – Also known as spousal abuse or rape (understand that any form of non-consent, even when you are married, is still rape)
  • Stalking – repeated, unwanted attention, contact, harassment, or other behaviors directed at a single person that would make that person fearful

Effects of Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse and violence can have a wide range of effects on nearly every aspect of a survivor’s health and wellbeing, including physical, emotional, and psychological effects. These include:

  • Depression – Symptoms related to long periods of sadness and hopelessness that interrupt regular thoughts and activities
  • Post traumatic stress disorder – An intense anxiety disorder resulting from a traumatic experience (in this case, sexual abuse)
  • Flashbacks – Feeling like memories of sexual violence are happening again
  • Dissociation – Detaching from reality, though this exists in a spectrum ranging from simple daydreaming to more chronic, complex dissocation
  • Substance abuse
  • Self-harm
  • Eating disorders
  • Sleep disorders
  • Suicide

Recovering from Sexual Abuse

Thankfully, therapy does exist for survivors and has been found to be highly effective in helping them deal with challenges. Psychotherapy is designed to teach you new coping skills, methods for understanding your feelings, and strategies to manage stress and anxiety, all in a safe, non-judgmental, confidential environment.

Approaches differ from therapist to therapist. Some may involve more dialogue, while others will recommend exercises and “homework”. You may need to experiment and try different methods before you find exactly what works for your needs. It also helps to click with your therapist’s personality, which increases your trust and supports a more honest dialogue. Try to find a therapist with experience helping survivors of sexual abuse.

At HARP, you’ll find an experienced medical team who can provide counseling and help for sexual abuse, particularly in conjunction with drug addiction. If you have any questions or want to get help today, we urge you to call us at (877) 806-5022.

Send us an email to get back to being you, today.